The Interrupters make new friends in Newcastle at their first-ever North East gig
Los Angeles ska-punks The Interrupters have never played in the North East before, but their first gig certainly won't be their last if the storm they kicked up at Newcastle University on Tuesday night is anything to go by.
They had a good-sized Tuesday night crowd eating out of their hand from the moment they stepped on stage and launched into a high-energy set which got everybody in the room moving.
A lot of that is down to the infectious enthusiasm, stage presence and sheer glee exhibited by singer Aimee Interrupter, a frontwoman so engaging you can't take your eyes off her.
But the feelgood rhythms they lay down are as much to the band of brothers who back her as the effervescent singer.
The Interrupters are literally a family, you see. Aimee is married to guitarist Kevin Bivona, and his brothers, twins Justin on bass and Jesse on drums, make up the band.
They were joined for this tour on organ by a member of London ska band Buster Shuffle, and he fitted in like the long-lost cousin they never knew they had.
There was another unseen influence running through the evening, Tim Armstrong, the main man of Rancid, who has played a big role in The Interrupters' progress since they formed seven years ago.
They collaborated on his Tim Timebomb project, where he released a new song online every day for a year, and he has co-written some of their songs and produced their three albums.
That might explain the Rancid-like sound which runs through much of their work, and it’s a recipe to get a dancefloor moving, as they showed from the off.
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The crowd already been warmed up by Maid Of Ace, an excellent all-sister hardcore band from Hastings who I’ve seen many times, but who appeared new to many present, and Grade 2, a melodic streetpunk trio from the Isle of Wight, who lifted the energy levels even higher.
By the time The Interrupters hit the stage the crowd was ready to dance, and they made them do that from the start, opening with A Friend Like Me from their first album.
It was the first time the LA quartet have played in the North East, and it’s fair to say their energy was bounced right back at them by the audience.
They were only a handful of songs into their set before they got their first crowd surfer, and from then on there was a steady flow as the fans showed their appreciation.
Kerosene, She Got Arrested, and Good Things prompted huge singalongs, and a cover of Soundsystem by Operation Ivy (Armstrong’s pre-Rancid band) slipped down a treat with a crowd who clearly know their ska.
They dispensed with the usual charade of leaving the stage and returning for an encore, and their last two numbers, the anthemic Got Each Other and Family, that Tim Timebomb collaboration, rounded their set off in style.
It was a night when band and crowd connected, creating a real sense of community and mutual respect, and I hope it’s not too long before they return to see their new Friends in Newcastle.